The Daily App: CanWeNetwork -- How to Win Friends in Business
Professional networking has truly stepped into the mobile age with the CanWeNetwork app, which uses geolocation data to find people to connect with in your vicinity.
Networking events used to take place at hotel conference rooms and other large gathering areas. Prospective contacts milled around wearing suits and bearing business cards, but it was up to you to find and make contact with the right people, making it sometimes a hit-or-miss proposition depending on your ability to chit-chat and be gregarious.
Then, of course, social networking took over, and sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn turned into the digital equivalents of the meet-and-greet and industry cocktail hour. Targeting prospects, for anything from job leads to industry knowledge, became much easier, although with everyone locked behind virtual screens, sometimes getting a reciprocal response proved difficult.
The "CanWeNetwork" app, however, aims to marry the best of the real and virtual world, looking to make it easy for business folks near one another meet the people they actually want to connect with and using the power of social networking information to highly target prospects in a real-life room.
What's the App?
CanWeNetwork, a free app developed by CanWeStudios for iOS and Android, touts itself as "unique mobile business networking tool that provides users with valuable professional recommendations of people they need to meet for business opportunities." Users connect their LinkedIn profile with the app; the app then analyzes the information and spits out a list of people it recommends you should meet, based on proximity, skills, interests, experience and personality traits extracted from your LinkedIn information.
You can choose to connect through the app, sending messages when most convenient for you. The app can also run in the background of your mobile device and alert when a connection is in your vicinity, making it useful at professional events and conferences as well.
The CanWeNetwork app bears a passing resemblance to apps like Highlight and Glancee, which also recommended people to connect with nearby. Those apps, however, failed to gain traction with a large base of users, with many likely worried over privacy concerns. The concept of location-based connections, however, seems to work better in a professional business context, with its clear sense of boundaries and well-established protocols.
The app avoids trust and privacy hurdles, with a well-defined purpose and its limitation to LinkedIn, which is already a community of users looking to make connections. Its clean, professional design and ease also go a long way to assure users of its strict purpose, and privacy controls are easily accessed and, more importantly, easily understood.
You'll Want It If...
You want to network online and digitally, but don't have the time to click through or wade through a million LinkedIn profiles. The app's developers are leveraging the power of big data to develop complex algorithms they say can predict the kinds of people you are most likely to succeed with. The app is even able to calculate the percentage to which you "match" a prospective connection, helping you decide who's truly a match and who isn't in terms of who to network with. However, to maximize the app, you'll need a fully updated LinkedIn profile.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
The CanWeNetwork app is a great resource for those looking to bolster their professional networks and create new opportunities for themselves, but it will be highly dependent on whether or not it can attract a large, engaged user base, the lifeblood of any social network of any kind. It doesn't quite leverage its geo-spatial features as powerfully as it could yet, particularly when it comes to the events and conferences where the app could be most useful.
The developers say that the ability to register events you're planning to attend is coming, which will help to actually make connections before you go, but those impatient for that kind of functionality can join something like Plancast, which helps you locate events and meetings and network with people attending them beforehand. ♦
Categories: Business | The Daily App